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Is my smartphone insured? How to check if you need separate mobile phone cover

With top end smartphone’s now costing over £500, the prospect of breaking or losing one is enough to make you break out in a cold sweat – especially if you have only recently upgraded.

If you have a long time to run on your current contract, it can be a very costly struggle to replace a smartphone – and considering recent Vodafone statistics state that a phone is stolen, damaged or lost every four seconds in the UK, it’s an increasingly common problem.

The obvious form of protecting yourself against losing a smartphone is to take out a phone or gadget insurance policy, but before you rush to your search engine of choice to find the best deal it’s important to check if your smarphone is already insured.

Almost all home insurance policies include at least a basic level of cover for smartphones, and many ‘package bank accounts’ include perks like mobile phone insurance.

Therefore a specific policy just for your smartphone may not be the most sensible course of action, so before you take out smartphone cover use the tips below to check if your phone is already insured.

Was insurance included in your contract?

A lot of mobile phone networks use features like fast replacements and international cover as methods to encourage you to take up a contract with them, so the first thing you should do is check with your network to see if there is any cover included as part of your monthly payment.

Taking out extra cover with your network provider is often the most expensive option, but it does tend to provide very comprehensive cover. For example:

EE charges £4 per month to provide phone damage cover, although this will not pay out for loss or theft. For full cover it charges £8 a month for full cover.

Vodafone has a similar off to EE, although the final cost depends on the value of your phone: between £5-£7 for damage cover and £8-£12 for full protection.

Three Mobile also charges different rates for cover depending on how much your phone costs. The prices for the very latest phone models tend to be £8 for damage cover and £14 for full cover. For cheaper, more basic phones the costs can be as little as £2 – £3 per month.

O2 offers four different levels of cover costing between £3-£4.50, £6-£7.50, £10 or £12-50 per month depending on how expensive the smartphone is.

iPhone’s – are you already signed up to AppleCare+?

Apple has its own insurance policy called AppleCare+, which provides cover for accidents, although not if you lose your phone or are a victim of theft.

AppleCare+ offers cover for any iPhone, iPad, iPod or Apple Watch, and includes cover for a maximum of two accidental damage claims per year – for which you are liable to pay an excess of £25 (if the damage is to the screen) or £79 (if the damage is somewhere other than the screen).

The Apple insurance policy costs between £89 – £119 depending on the value of your device. However, some Apple users who have used their upgrade scheme could find that they are already on the AppeleCare+ scheme – so it’s always worth double-checking.

Are smartphone’s covered by home insurance?

Most home insurance policies will cover your phone, and all other devices, while they are in the home, but it is important to check the details of your policy to see if there are any exclusions or limits on the value of the contents.

If your phone is stolen from your home then it is highly likely that your home insurance will cover it as long as there are no exclusions, however accidental damage is not quite as clear-cut. According to recent research by GoCompare, 15% of policies were found to pay out for repair or replacement of a mobile phone, while 66% include the option to extend your policy to cover accident damage of a smartphone.

There are some insurers who will simply exclude damage to smartphones from their home insurance policies though, so as always it is worth reading through all the policy small-print.

Does my home insurance cover my phone when outside the house?

If your phone is lost, stolen or damaged while out the house, then you will need to have personal possessions cover as an extension.

This option typically protects things like smartphones, tablets and laptops – as well as other valuables like jewellery and clothes – and is not necessarily too expensive. For example, adding personal possessions cover for about £50,000 worth of contents cover can cost an extra £15 – £20 per year.

Don’t forget your excess contribution

It’s worth pointing out here that any claim you make on your home insurance policy will trigger your requirement to pay an excess. The amount of your excess will have been confirmed at the outset of your policy taking effect.

Making a claim on your home insurance is also likely to lead to increased premiums when it comes to renewal, so be careful that you have taken this and the excess into account before making a claim for a broken iPhone screen on your contents policy.

Is my smartphone insured through my bank account?

If you have a packaged current account – i.e. one that provides benefits like travel insurance, AA cover, cinema vouchers etc… for a small fee each month – then you might well already have smartphone insurance as part of the deal.

Packaged accounts usually cost around £10 – £15 per month and are full of ‘perks’ which can include full mobile phone cover to pay out for damage, repair and replacement.

A lot of packaged accounts require you to actually register your handset through their system before the cover is activated – so make sure you check now as you could actually be paying for cover right now that hasn’t been put in place.

Also, some packaged bank accounts may only offer basic smartphone cover like providing refurbished phones to replace your stolen one, or putting limits on the value of phones that qualify for cover.

Is a dedicated mobile phone insurance policy worth it?

While you may be able to get cover via your network provider, home insurance policy or packaged bank account, it’s important to note that this cover can often come with limitations.

A dedicated gadget or smartphone insurance policy may well be the more expensive option – but you will also find they can offer a much higher level of protection.

Smartphone cover can cost anywhere from £5 – £20 per month, and usually offer promises like fast replacements and repair. There are also added policy benefits like accessories cover, worldwide protection (so you’re covered while on holiday) and even reimbursement for any expensive calls made while the phone was stolen.

Another added benefit of a stand-alone gadget insurance policy is that you can find better deals by including all of your gadgets and devices. Most people or households now have multiple smartphone’s, tablets, laptops etc… so insuring them all under one policy can bring you added savings.

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